December 2020

From The Pastor's Heart

Join us in looking forward to the doors God will open in 2021.

By Charles F. Stanley

What an awesome and mighty God we have! It’s been a year of difficulty and change, but through it all, our heavenly Father is still in charge. He holds the universe in His hands and has an appointed time for all things.

I’m amazed and grateful for how faithful the Lord has been to In Touch Ministries. We’ve always made it our goal to trust God, looking beyond what we can see to what He sees. And He’s worked wonders to make His gospel known.

Since our founding in 1977, we’ve poured our efforts into broadcasting. More than a thousand stations, networks, and satellites now carry our program, available in over 75 languages. When the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread worldwide, In Touch Ministries was ideally positioned to share God’s truth with millions of people confined to their homes. They were looking for hope, and this was the perfect way to reach them.

Our audiences grew dramatically in 2020, with many viewers tuning in for the very first time. I’m so grateful for your partnership, which enabled us to reach all these new people and minister to them. Through your help and God’s faithfulness, we were able to seize this moment in history and raise the precious name of Jesus, even to the ends of the earth. I hope you’re encouraged, as I am, to think of the souls saved during this time. God will indeed cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

God has used this year to develop His purpose for me personally, as well. At His guidance, I became pastor emeritus at my home fellowship, First Baptist Church of Atlanta. Not to retire, but to focus my efforts on In Touch and take our ministry into this new era of kingdom growth. We’ll continue to share His Word through all our initiatives, from printed devotionals to streaming TV, to reach as many people as possible with the gospel and to disciple them on their walk with Christ.

As 2020 draws to a close and we head into 2021, let me take this moment to encourage you. You are God’s beloved child, and you, too, are called according to His purpose. Your heavenly Father can and does use you for the glory of His name. Cultivating the right mindset is an important thing you can do to prepare for opportunities. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll be poised to act when they arise.

Be ready to share. When Jesus fed the 5,000, He did so through the generosity of a small boy who was willing to share his lunch—five loaves and two fish—with the crowd (John 6:1-14). Be alert to opportunities for giving. You never know how God will use you if you’re generous.

Be unafraid to obey. God will sometimes ask you for a big act of obedience, and that can be frightening. Peter had to make a significant decision when he left his fishing business to follow Jesus (Matt. 4:18-20). But because he stepped out in faith, God could use Peter in powerful ways to establish His church. Even if you feel inadequate, be confident God will empower you to walk through the doors He opens.

Be constantly growing in the Lord. Instead of helping with a meal, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to Him. Her sister Martha was upset by this, but Jesus said Mary had made a good choice (Luke 10:41-42). Seek His guidance on where you can find extra time in your schedule for Him. You’ll keep growing if you make room in your life to know your Savior better.

Be eager to witness. Even when he was in jail, Paul found an opportunity to share the good news. He explained to his jailer how to be saved, and the man immediately placed his faith in Jesus (Acts 16:30-34). Because Paul testified confidently, a whole family received salvation. Let the hope of eternal life give you courage to share Jesus, regardless of the reaction you might receive.

Be committed to Christ. Zaccheus was a tax collector who didn’t even know Jesus. Still, he was so enthralled by all he’d heard that he ran and climbed a tree to see the Lord pass by. And Jesus noticed (Luke 19:2-6). Because you know Him, your commitment to the Savior should be even greater. Don’t let anything come between you and your love for Him.

If you do these things, you’ll stay positioned for God’s purposes and ready to serve Him, love others in His name, and be a blessing to a world in turmoil.

Thank you for your devotion to the Lord and for serving alongside us in this unusual year. Your prayers and support are a great encouragement to us, and to all who hear the good news through our ministry. Join me in looking forward to the doors God will open in 2021. Whatever the coming year brings, remember: God is in control of your life. In the words of Paul to the Philippians:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Phil. 4:6-7

May God bless you as you continue to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. All of us here at In Touch Ministries are profoundly grateful for you, and we hope our ministry is an encouragement. It’s my prayer God will strengthen you in faith and fill you with His peace in all seasons. Trust Him. God bless you.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

1 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias).

2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.

3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples.

4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.

5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?"

6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.

7 Philip answered Him, Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little."

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him,

9 There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?"

10 Jesus said, Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.

12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost."

13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.

14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

19 And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;

42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

30 and after he brought them out, he said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

31 They said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.

33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich.

3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.

4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.

5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."

6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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